STU Global Brigades Gain New Perspectives and Apply Real-World Skills in Panama

Group shot of STU students in Panama - with students holding Panama flag and one student with STU pennant

Students in STU Global Brigades recently travelled to Panama where they broadened their perspectives, gained cultural awareness, and developed real-world skills—while making a difference. 


During the trip, STUdents visited a rural community where they collaborated with a community bank, teaching basic financial concepts like loans, interest calculation, and savings accounts, along with leadership skills to encourage bank usage in the community. They also hosted financial literacy workshops and one-on-one business training, which helped one woman start her own business. 


Erin Feicht, STU’s Career Development Advisor, highlighted the impact this international opportunity had on the students. 


"They applied their in-class knowledge and stepped outside their comfort zones to understand the community's needs. Some students are now hoping to work abroad after graduation, having seen how amazing this experience can be," she said. 


Stephanie Gagnon, a Communications & Public Policy, and Digital Media & Creative Arts STUdent, saw the trip as an opportunity to broaden her worldview, develop an appreciation for another culture, and use her education to help others. 


“We listened to their needs and collaborated on business plans. Every client was so kind, and we quickly bonded through stories and laughter,” she said. 


Gagnon found the trip eye-opening, gaining a new appreciation for her STU education. 


“I saw the value of my education firsthand by helping businesses in Panama,” she said. 


One Panamanian woman received comprehensive support from STUdents to start a chicken-raising business, including a business plan, supplies, a chicken coop, and marketing materials. 


“She’s now well equipped to run her business and recently sent an update that the Brigade has made her dreams come true,” said Feicht. 


About STU Global Brigades 


Global Brigades is a non-profit organization with chapters across North America and internationally, implementing a holistic model to achieve community health and economic goals. STU Global Brigades has traveled to Greece to support local entrepreneurs and to Honduras to assist with water system construction and public health projects. Interested in joining? Send an email to


This international experience was possible through STU's Global Skills Opportunity project. Global Skills Opportunity is funded by the Government of Canada through Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).